After Trump’s idiotic rants about NATO, US Defence Secretary Mattis, on a visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels, eventually stated that the US commitment to NATO “remains solid”. Then he flew to Iraq to put out another Trump-induced fire, that the US could invade Iraq again and steal their vast oil reserves. Mattis promised that there was not going to be another invasion and the US would not take Iraq’s oil. He also had to tell the Iraqis that those people who had risked their lives assisting the US during its 2003 invasion and subsequently, would be allowed into the US, despite Trump’s now defunct blanket ban on travel from Iraq and six other countries.
After Trump’s anti-EU rants over the last 12 months, it was Vice President Pence who visited Brussels to tell the Europeans that the US has a strong commitment “to continued co-operation and partnership with the European Union”. When he returned to the US, Pence met Australian Foreign Minister Bishop in a bid to smooth the waters after Trump savaged the innocuous Australian Prime Minister Turnbull over the Obama-era deal to take 1200 refugees from Australia’s offshore detention camps.
During the US visit of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Trump stated that he was not committed to the ‘two-state solution’ for the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel, which has been a cornerstone of US Middle East policy for decades. As with Mattis, the US Ambassador to the UN, Haley, had to quickly step in and state that the US absolutely supported the two-state solution.
At a European security conference in Munich, US Senator McCain stated that “there is profound concern across Europe and the world that America is laying down the mantle of global leadership”. He went on to say he didn’t believe “that is the message you will hear from all of he American leaders who cared enough to travel here to Munich this weekend. That’s not the message you heard today from Secretary of Defence, Jim Mattis. That is not the message you will hear from Vice President Mike Pence. That’s not the message you will hear from Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.”
McCain then went on, without mentioning Trump by name, that the organisers of the conference would be alarmed by the resentment seen towards immigrants, refugees and minorities, and by the inability to separate lies from truth, and by the flirting with authoritarianism.
So what does this all mean? It is difficult to tell, but I suspect that Pence, Mattis, Tillerson and others have been made aware of how the world works and what stability means for the world, and that Trump is a loose cannon with all the abilities of a toddler. In an oblique way, the Department of Defense warned the Republicans about Trump’s mental state last month. It seems that many of them have taken this on board and are, to some extent, second-guessing Trump, if only for the future stability of the US. This is what is called the Salazar Solution.
The Salazar Solution is named after António de Oliviera Salazar, the dictator of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. In 1968, Salazar suffered a cerebral haemorrhage and it was expected he would die very soon thereafter without coming out of hospital. As a consequence, he was replaced as Prime Minister by Marcelo Caetano. Despite his illness, Salazar lived for another two years and unexpectedly recovered some lucidity. However, his intimates did not tell him he was no longer Prime Minister and as far as Salazar was concerned he still ruled the country. He still signed papers, dictated orders and received visitors. This would be perfect for Trump, as he could still believe he would be in control, and this would still be feeding his narcissism. All his keepers would have to do is to make sure that morning television (seemingly his only source of information) was attuned to what Trump thought was happening.
So, what happens when Trump realises that his idiotic tweets and unread orders are not being heeded, or looked upon simply as the ramblings of a mentally deranged old fool. That is when the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution comes into play. This clarifies the ambiguous wording about succession to the presidency in Article II, Section 1, Clause 6, of the constitution. The first three parts of the Amendment deal with the succession to the presidency of the Vice President upon the death, resignation, or incapacity of the President. However, it is the last section that may be applicable to Trump. It states:
“If the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as acting President.”
The president may then declare that he is able, but the original authors of the transmission then may again say that he is unfit. Then the decision for removal of the president will be by two-thirds majority of both houses.
If neither of these methods work, then impeachment is the only remaining option for removal of the nutter in the oval office.